Angelique Kerber, after taking what seemed like a six-month break on tour, has rediscovered her best tennis at Wimbledon 2016, and now she’s ready to face Serena Williams. With a late-round draw through Simona Halep and Venus Williams, Kerber is into the Wimbledon final where she’ll face the player she beat in the final of the 2016 Australian Open – World No. 1 Serena Williams.
For Williams, the final match from Wimbledon this season represents a deadline of sorts. She has always had at least one active Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2012. However, that won’t be the case any longer if she loses on Saturday. Having lost in the late rounds of the 2015 US Open, the 2016 Aussie, and the 2016 French Open, Williams only has Wimbledon 2015 as an active Grand Slam title now. That result will fall out of the rankings on Monday so unless Williams wins the women’s final on Saturday; she will be without an active Slam for the first time in four years.
Furthermore, Williams, in the Wimbledon final, is making another attempt at tying Steffi Graf’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. Graf won 22 Grand Slams, and Williams has attempted to tie that mark in each major since winning Wimbledon last season. Kerber, who is 28 years old, spoke about Graf, a player who also represented Germany during her career.
“I watched a lot of her Wimbledon finals,” Kerber said. “I know that it’s 20 years ago that she won here the last time. Of course, I will try to be the next one to win here after Steffi.”
Kerber enters the final playing the best tennis she has played since the Australian Open earlier this year. She has not dropped a set at Wimbledon 2016, and she has avoided tie-breakers for the most part too.
That form is unlike the form she had heading into Wimbledon. In Birmingham she lost to Carla Suarez-Navarro, at Roland Garros Kerber went out in the first round, and back in Rome, she lost in the 2nd round to Eugenie Bouchard. Back in Madrid, Kerber lost in the first round as well and the only real post-Aussie highlights are a title from Stuttgart in April and a semifinal appearance at the Premier Mandatory event in Miami. If not for the six-month dip in form, Kerber might otherwise be challenging for the World No. 1 ranking on Saturday on top of a Wimbledon title. However, having left so many ranking points on the table the last six months, as things are, Williams will retain that ranking in all events following Wimbledon – at least for a little while.
“I will go out there with a lot of confidence,” Kerber said of the Wimbledon 2016 final. “She lost the (Aussie) final against me, and I know she will go out and try everything to beat me right now.”
Overall on head-to-heads, their series is lead by Williams at 5-2. However, another record that is worth noting is Williams’ late-round record in the last four Slams. Going back to the US Open and including the Wimbledon 2016 semifinals, she is 3-3 in Grand Slam semifinals/finals. Kerber is 3-0 from the same point of view, and she looks fully prepared for the Wimbledon final.
After all the early-round rain delays, the women’s final goes on Saturday at 2 pm local time from London (9 am ET/6am PT).